Day 77 - FDR visits the Panama Canal
Throughout his travels FDR made many trips through the Panama Canal, including a visit to the nearly completed Canal in 1912. The work on the Canal started under President Theodore Roosevelt and was finished in 1914. FDR traveled to Panama with his brother-in-law Hall Roosevelt and his friend and Republican Senate colleague J. Mayhew Wainright. The trio was given their own personal observation car to use through the nine-mile Culebra Cut. FDR wrote home to his mother Sara saying:
I can’t begin to describe it and have become so enthusiastic that if I didn’t stop I would write all night. The two things that impress me most are the Culebra Cut, because of the colossal hole made in the ground, and the locks because of the engineering problems and size. Imagine an intricate concrete structure nearly a mile long and three or four hundred feet wide, with double gates of steel weighing 700 tons apiece!
Our museum collection includes this watercolor painting of the U.S.S. Houston at the Panama Canal by Ian Marshall. This painting depicts the scene of the Houston passing through the Panama Canal on July 11, 1934 with President Roosevelt on board. This was the first passage through the completed Canal by a U.S. President while in office.
After years of difficult work and a loss of many lives to tropical diseases, the Panama Canal officially opened on August 15, 1914, ten years after the United States controversially took control of the land and project. Considered one of the great engineering feats of modern times, the Canal greatly reduced transit time from east coast ports to west coast ports of the United States and for European shippers as well. The U.S. War Department steamship, Ancon, made the first passage through the Panama Canal.
Cape Cod Canal Centennial!
The Cape Cod Canal first opened to limited traffic 100 years ago on July 29, 1914. Located at the base of Cape Cod where it joins the Massachusetts mainland, the canal runs 17.5 miles from Cape Cod Bay to Buzzards Bay and enables nautical traffic to cut at least 65 miles off the trip around the hazardous outer shore of the Cape.
Find more photos and records on the Cape Cod Canal →
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“Hubert P. Yockey (left) shown here with the 60-inch cyclotron. Dr. Yockey worked under Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project. “
Photo taken July 26, 1949. Morgue 1949-5 (P-4) [Photographer: Donald Cooksey], 07/26/1949
From the series: Photographs Documenting Scientists, Special Events, and Nuclear Research Facilities, Instruments, and Projects at the Berkeley Lab, compiled 1996 - 2012, documenting the period 1913 - 1991. General Records of the Department of Energy, 1915 - 2007
On this day in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco to Marin County, California, officially opened amid citywide celebration.
When the bridge opened it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 4,200 feet. At the appointed hour, a foghorn blew and the toll gates opened, releasing the earliest arrivals, who rushed to be the first to cross.
This image depicts the USS California (BB44) crossing underneath an incomplete Golden Gate Bridge in 1936. National Archives Identifier 520585.
These are not the droids you’re looking for…
May the Fourth Be With You!
A view of ROBART II, an autonomous sentry robot developed at the Naval Surface Weapons Center by Lieutenant Commander Bart Everett, 03/01/1983
A view of a six-legged walker robot at the Naval Surface Weapons Center, 03/01/1983
From the series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007
"President Theodore Roosevelt Inspecting Canal Work from Decauville Train"
From the series: Photographs of the Construction of the Panama Canal, 1887 - 1940
The United States formally took control of the property for the planned Panama canal on May 4 1904, taking over from an earlier failed French project. Theodore Roosevelt (seated in the center of the railcar in white) had played a pivotal role throughout the planning and construction of the canal.
Happy 125th Birthday to the Eiffel Tower! Or should we say, Bon anniversaire à la Tour Eiffel!
Now an iconic part of the Parisian landscape, Gustave Eiffel’s eponymous tower first opened to the public 125 years ago on March 31, 1889 as part of the Exposition Universelle.
Excerpted from: RESULTS OF STRATEGIC BOMBING IN THE PARIS AREA, 1944
Happy 105th Birthday Queensboro Bridge! (aka the 59th Street Bridge, Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge)
Construction on this cantilever bridge began in 1901 and opened to the public on March 30, 1909. The bridge connects Long Island City, Queens with Manhattan at 59th and 60th streets. In 2010 it was renamed in honor of former New York City mayor Ed Koch.
THIS IS THE 59TH STREET BRIDGE SEEN FROM THE EAST SIDE DRIVE MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY. THE INNER CITY TODAY IS AN ABSOLUTE CONTRADICTION TO THE MAIN STREAM AMERICA OF GAS STATIONS EXPRESSWAYS, SHOPPING CENTERS AND TRACT HOMES. IT IS POPULATED BY BLACKS, LATINS AND THE WHITE POOR. THIS PROJECT IS A PORTRAIT OF THE INNER CITY ENVIRONMENT OF PEOPLE AND STRUCTURES, 08/1974
The Three Mile Island Accident
Thirty-five years ago on March 28, 1979 the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island in eastern Pennsylvania suffered a partial meltdown, triggering the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history. These photos were taken in the days following the accident.
All photos from the series: President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, March 29 - April 30, 1979
Plan of One Tower for the East River Bridge, 1867
When it opened on May 24, 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Designed and built by German-born John A. Roebling and his son, Washington A. Roebling, the bridge connected New York and Brooklyn. The remarkable design used Roebling’s patented system of steel wire cable construction. Its graceful limestone and granite towers, pictured here, took 5 years to build.